T for Tantrums

Remember The Muppets and Sesame Street?!
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Chocolate covered cherries, two Jolly Ranchers, a mini Milky Way, and two packs of fruit snacks. I'm not grading  papers anymore, so tonight's candy binge is brought to us by the letter T--T for tantrums. The theme for today (and everyday for the past month and a half) has been tantrums. If we had our own TV show, it would be called, 19 Tantrums and Counting (Everyday). The intro would be blips of my kids screaming for various reasons and me shoving candy in my mouth while Nate walked around the house with his bluetooth headphones in playing some wizard game on his phone.

In all seriousness, the tantrums have been off the chain ever since about the end of September--around Nate's 33rd birthday....I mean, I know it sucks that he's old and all....anyway. I've tried to identify triggers, and for K, it seems like her trigger was when we gave her a picture of her birthmom that we found online. "Try to find something from her past," they said. "It will help them process their trauma," they said. While I get the concept behind this, it seems like shit blew up after we gave K this picture. She started tantruming more, having bathroom issues, and just overall refusing to attach with us by choosing to be overly silly or overly emotional until we had to send her to her room to take some space (I'm not sure if this was deliberate or her brain's way of trying to make sense of this hot mess). Maybe she wasn't ready to have that picture. Maybe the kids' tantrums and overall emotional instability began around the same time we started the home improvement projects which has caused our home to be in a bit of disarray physically and mentally. Nate's worked hard on the cabinets and floors, and I've pulled my weight by taking on more with the kids--maybe this has caused some of the issues.

Whatever the trigger, the behaviors are here and in our faces. Bedtime routines are the worst. No matter how structured we are with the bedtime routine, shit seems to fall apart each night and someone ends up screaming in their rooms (usually it's Nate...just kidding). (Have I mentioned that my mouth tends to get out of control when I'm stressed? It's a bad habit.) Tonight I found myself standing in the kitchen, legs shaking as J screamed in his room because, after refusing to blow his nose and being warned twice, I used a baby snot sucker on him. While Jon screamed, Nate sat in K's room trying to get her to stop screaming (after he was goofing around with the kids, she got over the top silly and out of control, and he asked her to take some space to calm down...which of course means, cry and scream until you lose control of your body). I contemplated leaving, but I didn't know where to go since we now live in a town without a Target. I wish my first inclination was to get on my knees and pray, to surrender all of this to God, to repent for the anger and frustration I have towards my kids---but my gut reaction is to run....I realize this makes me terrible. My devotion this morning was all about submitting to God's timing and accepting His blessing with grace and communing with Him in times of struggle...but the later requires a trust that apparently I don't have right now.

To calm myself down, I exchanged texts with a friend who told me that I had to consider why these tantrums bother me so much....I think they bother me because they prevent me from having a "normal" relationship with my child. I feel like all I want is for things to be normal in my home. I want my kids to have normal experiences at school without behavior charts and trips to the principal's office. I want to be able to just go out and have fun as a family without having to talk with the kids about how to handle their urges to be silly, a reflection of their anxiety. I want to be able to be a normal family, and I'm ashamed that my home isn't normal.

I clearly need to let go of the idea of normality because nothing about my kids, about our home is "normal." It's not their fault...it's not my fault...it's not Nate's fault. It's just the way it is. Letting go of normal is just so difficult.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Keep at it. You are awesome, even when you don't feel like you are. Your kids are sweet (maybe no all the time, but they've always been sweet to us). And we are just a few hours and a phone call away. No joke. I will drop everything if you need me.
Thanks for sharing this.